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More than Just Points: The Changing Landscape of Hotel Loyalty

During HT-NEXT, attendees will have the chance to listen to a panel discussion on the topic: "Cultivating Loyalty in a Disloyal Culture." As the competition for customer loyalty becomes fiercer, hotels must rethink the way they appeal to consumers. How are leading chains going beyond points to customer experience that truly resonates? This panel discussion will discuss strategies that have worked and where data can tip the scales for meaningful results. Attendees will also find out how the concept of loyalty 3.0 will require hyper-personalization and hyper-convenience.

Panelists include:

  • Tammy Lucas, Vice President Marketing, Best Western Hotels & Resorts: During her tenure at Best Western, Tammy has led regional marketing, Best Western Rewards®, brand marketing, digital marketing, advertising and, most recently, the brand’s distribution partnerships. Tammy has substantial marketing, sales and operations experience with a passion for inspiring teams to surpass goals both professionally and personally. In her current role, Tammy the marketing and advertising teams by setting the strategy and direction for key deliverables on brand marketing and advertising, Best Western Rewards®, digital marketing, digital partnerships, direct marketing and search. Under her leadership, Best Western Rewards, the chain’s loyalty program, doubled the program’s membership and revenue to member properties in less than five years, and gift card sales increased more than 50 percent. She also led the complete overhaul and rebranding of Best Western Rewards in 2009. In 2012, Tammy was named by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International as one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing for her tremendous contributions in shaping the Best Western Rewards program.
  • Joshua Margolis, Vice President, Customer Journey, Caesars Entertainment: Margolis leads a team of customer experience and product development professionals. His team leads loyalty, national promotions, and digital products for the enterprise. Prior to his current role, Josh was responsible for integrating Caesar’s Total Rewards loyalty program with Playtika’s chart topping social casino games and real money online gaming in New Jersey and Nevada. His work helped create one of the first social loyalty programs spanning multiple games and an 8 figure cross-marketing revenue stream. He has marketing experience across multiple verticals including time with category leaders in legal services, financial services, media, gaming and hospitality. Josh holds a BS in marketing from Lehigh University and a JD/MBA from Temple University.
  • Jamie Russo, Vice President, Loyalty Programs and Customer Engagement, Choice Hotels International: Russo is responsible for growing and enhancing the company’s award-winning loyalty program, Choice Privileges, as well as managing relationship marketing. Russo joined Choice Hotels in 2014. Under his leadership, the company successfully completed the redesign of the Choice Privileges loyalty program, which has since grown its membership to more than 40 million active members and earned recognition from USA Today and U.S. News and World Report as a top hotel loyalty program for three consecutive years. In 2015, Russo also assumed responsibility for the company’s network of call centers. Prior to joining Choice, Russo held various positions related to card acquisition, product management, and business development at American Express. In the consumer division of American Express, he managed marketing of co-brand products, such as the Delta SkyMiles Card, negotiated and launched the Mercedes-Benz credit cards, and began acquisition programs with Amazon Prime and Universal Studios. He also held positions in the Merchant Services organization, where he was responsible for managing global hotel and industry relationships.
  • Whitney Swales, VP, Guest Recognition, RLH Corporation: Swales leads the email marketing and loyalty program teams. Prior to her current role, Whitney led the loyalty and marketing analytics function and team for the Bagel Brands division of Coffee & Bagel Brands which includes the Einstein Bros. Bagels, Bruegger’s Bagels, Noah’s New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel brands (JAB Holdings). Whitney has a background in finance, loyalty marketing and marketing analytics with over 12 years of experience in the restaurant/hospitality industry.

Hospitality Technology (HT) and Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) are collaborating for the third year in a row to host HT-NEXT 2019, a unique conference for the hospitality technology industry. HT-NEXT 2019 will take place April 8-11 at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans.

HT-NEXT ( brings together hotel technology solution providers with leaders and influencers from leading hotel companies spanning IT, finance, marketing, distribution and operations. In 2018, the event attracted nearly 600 hospitality professionals. After the event, 87% of these attendees said they met a valuable new contact at the show, and 97% of attendees said they brought back a specific idea to implement at their organization.

HT-NEXT features emerging trends and the ability to dig in to work together to solve current industry problems. The program will feature thought-provoking keynotes, diverse educational sessions, HTNG workgroups and a technology exhibit hall for attendees to discover cutting-edge solutions. The Hotel Visionary Awards and the HTNG TechOvation Award are also presented live during the event

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